Kwagga to start, new-look bench for Boks

Kwagga Smith will start at blindside flank while Elton Jantjies and Frans Steyn have been included on a rejigged bench for the Boks’ clash with the All Blacks this Saturday.

Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber has recalled the experienced trio of Lood de Jager, Jantjies and Steyn for Saturday’s Rugby Championship Test against New Zealand in Townsville, as they look to rebound from successive defeats by Australia.

Nienaber has made five changes to the match-day squad for the Test against the All Blacks, with Trevor Nyakane named at loosehead prop for his 50th Test cap. Two of the changes are in the starting lineup, and more three on the bench, which features a five-three split this week.

De Jager (lock) has completed his return-to-play protocol after suffering a concussion against the Wallabies two weekends ago, and reunites with Eben Etzebeth in the second row, with Marvin Orie dropping out of the squad.

The other change in the starting lineup is at blindside flank where Smith is promoted from the bench in a direct switch with Franco Mostert, who will serve as impact player this week in a rotational switch to manage his workload.

Jantjies and Steyn are the new players among the replacements, with Steyn set to provide cover at centre and fullback, and Jantjies at flyhalf, while Herschel Jantjies will cover scrumhalf.

With Jasper Wiese’s fate yet to be decided following a delay in his disciplinary hearing for foul play at a ruck, which was held earlier on Tuesday, Marco van Staden and Mostert – who covers lock and loose forward – are set to spark some energy later in the game, much like the replacement front row of Steven Kitshoff, Vincent Koch (both props) and Malcolm Marx (hooker).

Cheslin Kolbe (wing) is still recovering from the knock he took to the leg before the first Test against Australia, but Nienaber said the speedster was making good progress and could be available for selection next weekend.

Springbok team to face New Zealand in Townsville:
15 – Willie le Roux (Toyota Verblitz) – 68 caps, 60 pts (12t)
14 – Sbu Nkosi (Cell C Sharks) – 14 caps, 40 pts (8t)
13 – Lukhanyo Am (Cell C Sharks) – 21 caps, 25 pts (5t)
12 – Damian de Allende (Munster) – 53 caps, 30 pts (6t)
11 – Makazole Mapimpi (Cell C Sharks) – 20 caps, 80 pts (16t)
10 – Handre Pollard (vice-captain, Montpellier) – 55 caps, 544 pts (6t, 83c, 112p, 4d)
9 – Faf de Klerk (Sale Sharks) – 34 caps, 25 pts (5t)
8 – Duane Vermeulen (Vodacom Bulls) – 56 caps, 15 pts (3t)
7 – Kwagga Smith (Yamaha JΓΊbilo) – 14 caps, 5 pts (1t)
6 – Siya Kolisi (captain, Cell C Sharks) – 58 caps, 30 pts (6t)
5 – Lood de Jager (Sale Sharks) – 51 caps, 25 pts (5t)
4 – Eben Etzebeth (Toulon) – 92 caps, 15 pts (3t)
3 – Frans Malherbe (DHL Stormers) – 45 caps, 5 pts (1t)
2 – Bongi Mbonambi (DHL Stormers) – 43 caps, 45 pts (9t)
1 – Trevor Nyakane (Vodacom Bulls) – 49 caps, 5pts (1t)

Replacements:
16 – Malcolm Marx (Kubota Spears) – 41 caps, 45 pts (9t)
17 – Steven Kitshoff (DHL Stormers) – 54 caps, 5pts (1t)
18 – Vincent Koch (Saracens) – 26 caps, 0 pts
19 – Franco Mostert (Honda Heat) – 46 caps, 5pts (1t)
20 – Marco van Staden (Leicester Tigers) – 8 caps, 0 pts
21 – Herschel Jantjies (DHL Stormers) – 16 caps, 25 pts (5t)
22 – Elton Jantjies (NTT Docomo Red Hurricanes) – 40 caps, 300 pts (2t, 64c, 54p)
23 – Frans Steyn (Toyota Cheetahs) – 69 caps, 141pts (11t, 7c, 21p, 3d)

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Craig Lewis